The higher value of Christmas — Marian Fitz-Gibbon

Gingerbread House at Seashells in Phu-Quoc Vietnam.

Children love Christmas and look forward to all the festivities it brings no matter what part of the world you find your self in.

It’s a season that never fails to bring out the childlike wonder in most people. There’s something marvellous and out of this world that makes us wish it were Christmas all year through.

On a recent trip to Vietnam I was surprised to find how much of Christmas was going to be celebrated in 2018 . The effort to draw people together to share a traditional meal and enjoy each other’s company was evident on the Island of Phu Quoc south of Vietnam.

Huyen Le, the pastry chef led a team to build a beautiful, large gingerbread house and all the traditional deco over four days.

When I asked her the motive, she raised her dark eyebrows over her glasses and, with a quizzical look, replied that the children and families should come and look, be happy and then eat.

On enquiring how to keep the team motivated – “Oh,” she said, “We are like family, we take care of one another and work well together.”

It reminded me of the value of cooking together in preparation for family Christmas gatherings.

But before we get going on the Christmas festivities, when we arrived back home in South Africa I thought of cooking up some lentils for ourselves. It’s a quick easy recipe and I can do it all by myself, no team required.

Our granddaughter was over for the day, however, and I pulled up a stool and we soon started the cooking together. Salt, herbs, measuring cups, water and all stirring and chatting away.

She then said: “I like helping you Gamma. I’m a big girl, I can cook too!”

That made me think of all the happy cooking over the years in our home, my Mum’s home, my sister’s houses, grandmother’s house, mother-in-law’s house, friends’ houses — and then there are the Wendy houses.

It’s the togetherness that makes the meal a memory. I must say, the simple meal tasted better than usual.

As we look ahead, as the family of God we can expect to be more effective as we take new territory together and build the house of the Lord together.

Jesus is the reason for the season
Jesus is the reason for the Christmas season, way more so than the symbols, food, gifts or songs.

The story of the birth of Christ is essential to our faith and retelling it from one generation to another is as critical as breathing.”

To retell this story in art, song, dance, mime, sculpture or whatever means the Lord gives you is of great importance.

When one learns one’s times tables – it’s best learnt by repetition. When one learns new information, it’s best learnt by full engagement of all the senses.

Consider the children involved in a Christmas concert – they never forget the fact they were chosen or not chosen for the lead role. I always think of those not chosen for the lead role!

As a family and perhaps with close friends, you can tell the Christmas story and have each member dress up — this way everyone gets to play a part and you build unity.

You can sing off key and no one minds. This will be a day you will remember forever, and you will remember the Christmas story too.

Quite honestly I was naively amazed just how much our friends in the Far East celebrate Christmas. They go all out with lights, trees, songs, food décor et al. They are so ready for the truth of the Gospel — it’s, as they say, ripe for picking!

Prayer of thanksgiving
Before eating your Christmas meal, give thanks to the Lord for the food, but perhaps also start a new thing — give thanks for just one more thing from each person at the table. Some folk are a tad awkward and some can’t stop, but whatever, it’s a good practice.

Teach to share
This is the perfect season to challenge yourselves and your younger members of the family to share. Look for those less fortunate and give generously to them. While you are giving them food and clothing, be sure to pray for healing and for them to come to know the Lord. It will be a Christmas they will never forget. A gift of a lifetime, one that lasts into eternity.

Peache and joy
May the peace and joy of the Lord Jesus Christ fill your hearts this Christmas. May you be filled with His Love and wisdom as you dream His dreams for 2019.
Much Love
Marian Fitz-Gibbon

Comments are closed.